Involved in another topic on OCAU where some "guy" who can only speak in capital letters made a lame attempt at flaming me for a comment I made. So I naturally ripped that shit outta him. Big numbers and computer hardware just seem to mesmerise some people. If someone asks me how big my HDD is and I tell them "6.4gb", I get a reply like "that's small". I can then reply like "I don't need a big drive. I'm perfectly happy with six and a half thousand meg. And how much of your fifteen thousand four hundred and sixty two point four meg drive do you use anyway? A tenth? A twelfth?". And then go off at them because they think they know sooo much about computers (but can't even type with more than one finger and be able to spell properly at the same time).I think one day I'll spray my entire keyboard black and mock anyone who can't type on it.

"Lotsa those MHz thingies" seem to impress people as well. You can buy a P3 800 and have all your friends be extremely jealous. And what exactly do you do with 800,000,000 clock cycles (plus SSE, MMX, 3D-Now! for AMD cpus, etc, etc.) per second? Thats EIGHT HUNDRED MILLION cycles. Per second. Huh? You do word processing and some web surfing. You stupid bastard! You paid three or four grand for a system you don't need. Give it to me and you can use my C366, which is still far more than you need. Loads of RAM seems to be almost as impressive to the general public. Okay, so most entry-level systems still only come with 64 meg, which is more than enough for someone who's biggest memory usage is a large flash animation on a web site. But people who only need 32mb for doing their web surfing thing get PCs with 128 or so in them. I would love 128. It could make my PC almost completely free from disk swapping.

You want to know exactly what I have running at any one time? I've got Rain, System health monitor and Getright in my startup so they run all the time. And when I'm on the 'net I'll probably have the dial-up connection, Alladvantage, five or six IE5 windows, Frontpage, Winamp, BPFTP, Eudora, and possibly some other stuff, in addition to the stuff I'd normally have running. I use Rain and System health because I actually care about my system, unlinke some of these people who think that a PC is indestructable. Scratch the CDs, thump the monitor, thump the case, thump the modem, put your coffee on the CD-ROM tray, etc. And still expect it to work? A computer is only as good as the person who uses it. I really think that there should be some sort of aptitude test to use a PC (anyone can use a Mac). My next door neighbours (no offense to you, this is just an example) have a P3-500 system with 128mb of RAM, a 10 gig HDD, 17" monitor, etc, etc, that they use to, you guessed it, surf the net, type documents, and do accounting. I turned it on one day and saw that the BIOS reprted the CPU temp as 55ºc. That's booting up, cold, before Windows (98, I might add) even starts to add extra heat to the mix. I suggested a heatsink, the el-cheapo-but-still-cool Golden Orb, to control this stupidly high temp, and they looked puzzled and said "why?". I explained that their computer was running at a temperature they probably could grill steak on, and they still didn't get it.

Some day, I'd really love to have a computer shop where I could sit down with each and every individual customer and ask them exactly what they need their computer for, and then tailor make them a system that suits their needs. Don't play 3d games? You don't need that $500 TNT2 the other stores think you need. You can have this four meg PCI card I have lying around. Only want to do some surfing and typing? This Celeron 400 is more than enough, and 64meg of RAM is plenty. You don't really need a 17" monitor, and flatscreen CTX (or CRX, whatever) is too much for what you want to do. A 4.3gig drive is plenty. Now, what are the other stores charging you? That much, huh? Exactly. You really don't need what they tell you they think you need. Yes. What I'm charging you is a fraction of what they would. Sure, it's obselete right now, but it'll continue to suit your needs for years, just like the hideously powerful uber-system they want to sell you, for a billion times the cost of the one I'm selling. You'll have to upgrade it eventually, but you'll have to upgrade that other one as well, and you'll have more money to do so, because you didn't spend it all on a great, big, powerful, useless, system.

I ask people when they 've just bought a new computer if they got all the CDs, drivers, etc. They usually say something like "So if anything goes wrong, I can get you to re-install everything?". No so you can be sure that the store isn't a bunch of dodgy pirate bastards who only own one copy of Win98 and Office. It's happened to many, many people I know, and I make sure that they demand their legal copies of software. I know lots of people who know nothing about computers. My sister for instance, was convinced that the computer was broken because the power switch didn't work. I looked under the desk, plugged the power cord back in, and would have loved to have said "That'll be $50, please. Lucky for you there's tech support people". The list goes on. And on, and on. I also know people who know nothing about computers, but also know this.

What I mean is, they know that they know nothing about computers. And it's even better if they're willing to learn. I love teaching people things about computers, especially stuff like "how to fix minor problems" and "why it's important to keep your mouse clean". And "how to uninstall a program, instead of just deleting it". My friend Morgan, for example, freely admits that she knows almost nothing about computers, and that they scare her. I say "That's cool, I've been using them for 12 years, and they still scare me too". Not scared as in frightened of using, but scared as in after 12 years, I still don't really know how they work

Getting taught about computers can be hazardous too. I'm currently doing a Diploma of Information Systems at TAFE, and there's this one lecturer, who happens to teach our hardest subject. Or maybe its just him. Or the time of morning we have to try and learn it on. The guy is a fucking genius, and I really mean that, but he just can't teach. We learnt about Novell NOS yesterday, and do you know what the deepest and most important thing about it he told us (his words) was? The screensaver is a red worm. Yes. Of course, those "training" CDs you get with new computers are just as bad. When my dad bought his amazing new P120 system waaay back in '96, he got a "Windows 95 starts here / Windows 95 how & why" CD. It was a typical Microsoft product. Tells you all about the OS, but not much about really how to use it. I sat through the entire CD, carefully set it aside (the case hasn't been opened since mid 1996) and began playing with the machine. My dad wasn't too happy, but I didn't break anything, and four years, and two Microsoft OS's later, I'm still using 95 because I don't see what these other systems have to offer over 95.

Yeah, the exact reason I'm doing a module called "Introduction to Local Area Networks" is because I'm a fucking network admin.


I wrote this rant nearly two four years ago, at age 17, in a bout of angst. It's been edited slightly to remove some things that didn't really fit (the first paragraph where I ranted about techno music, which I now love), and some minor formatting. The original copy can be found at http://epoch.iwarp.com/dotrant/1.html .

This is my Angst Technology.

Note: I'm now running Win'98 Win2k on an Athlon 1200C with 256mb RAM and a 20gb HDD (and a fileserver with ~46gb of space), with plans to upgrade to XP not upgrade until forced to. So much for loving '95.

Angst Technology is an online comic by artist Barry T. Smith. It is about a game company named, appropriately enough, Angst Technology, and the plot revolves around the staff of this company. Their only release to date is called Cowmandos, which I believe is a first person shooter in the world of Gary Larson’s The Far Side. Their current project is to design a MMORPG for Cowmandos.

For anyone working in the computer industry, this is a comic that speaks to you. Those working outside the industry, and are not computer geeks themselves, will probably lose most of the humour involved. The comic includes many obscure references such as ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US!! and 1337 speak.

CAST OF CHARACTERS

  • Hugh – the Boss. Not particularly bright, and seems to have a hearing problem. However he’s incredibly rich and has a love of video games as well as a kind heart. His attempts at karaoke are hilarious.
  • Dante – Lead Programmer. Married and all about The Code. He has a perpetual squint, chain-smokes, and has recently become the father of twins, whom he refers to as jawas. He’s really the only person aside from Kit who seems to know what’s truly going on.
  • Web Monkey – Webmaster. He is, quite literally, a monkey. He was better than the other applicants that applied for the job, and he does his work. As long as he doesn’t get angry and fling poop, he’s pretty quiet.
  • Marc – Project Manager/Customer Support. Marc is one of those people who is just not very observant. He’s very helpful, courteous, kind, etc… a real Boy Scout. Unfortunately, he’s not very observant as far as people go.
  • Yaz – Artist. Yaz is similar to Jay from Jay and Silent Bob. He tries so hard to be cool, but, unlike Jay, fails miserably instead of just badly. His main hobby is pr0n and chasing Kit’s skirt.
  • Kit – HR / Office Manager – Combination object of desire and babysitter. She keeps everything in the company from falling apart. She is usually only interrupted from this by Yaz’s lame attempts to hit on her.
  • Lance – Customer Support. He is not very bright, but is probably a super-hero that can fly in disguise. There hasn’t been much delving into this mysterious person’s life, though he did save Angst Technology from Dark Marc, a robot designed by Theodore, to steal back a hard drive.
  • The IT Ninjas – IT Department. My personal favourites and Angst Technology’s best kept secret. Few people at the firm actually know of their existence, but the IT Ninjas are very good at what they do in-house, though they do have a habit of offering completed service tickets up to the gods on a shrine.
  • Salvadore the Llama – Network Security. A real llama (hey, if a monkey can perform the web-presence duties, why can’t a llama be network security?) He was first introduced after Marc beat him at Counterstrike. Yaz hates Salvadore.
  • Dante’s Wife – (not staff). Recently gave birth to twins, she is very understanding of Dante’s habit of sitting in front of the computer as soon as he gets home. She really only gives him flack if he has deserved it. (such as asking her if he can bring his laptop to the birth of his children).
  • Theodore – (arch nemesis). Not a whole lot to say about Theodore. As villains go, his presence has been pretty weak. I think, however, we’ll see more of him in the future.
  • Dark Marc – (evil robot). Recently assaulted Dante, Hugh, and tried to fly away with a hard drive that had been liberated from Theodore after he hacked the servers. However, he was intercepted by Lance, and had the arm holding the hard drive ripped off.

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